My Mideast Punchlines: hidden agenda…

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday offered to formalise stricter international inspections of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities in exchange for permanent sanctions relief.

“It’s not about photo ops. We are interested in substance,” Zarif said in New York during a visit that saw his movement highly restricted.

biffSo what’s the truth about Good Grief Zarif’s “offer”? Of course Iran will allow closer inspection – but only of the nuclear facilities we know about. The others, hidden in some godforsaken mountains somewhere, are likely to remain off-limits.

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My Mideast Punchlines: cockin’ a deaf ‘un…

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon expressed their anger on Tuesday at the decision of the Lebanese Ministry of Labour to classify Palestinian labour similarly to illegal Syrian labour.

The refugees carried out a general strike and protests across 12 camps.

biffThese so-called refugees are treated like cow manure not only in Lebanon, but all over the Arab world. Of course, there’s one place where former refugees and their descendants are treated as equal citizens under the law: Israel. Are the Democrats’ hypocritical “Squad” in the US (AOC, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley) and Labour’s Corbyn and Cronies in the UK listening? I guess not.

My Mideast Punchlines: gobsmacked…

Syrian President Bashar Assad met on Tuesday in Damascus with an unnamed senior Iranian official to discuss ways to deal with Israeli airstrikes in the war-torn country, reported regime-affiliated Syrian newspaper Al-Watan.

The report comes against the backdrop of recent attacks on pro-Iranian forces in Syria, some which have been attributed to Israel

biffApparently, the discussion consisted mainly of shoulder-shrugging.

My Mideast Punchlines: trade war….

Palestinian leaders are spearheading a new effort to reduce their economic dependence on Israel by approaching Arab states for economic cooperation and agreements in a move meant to help counter the Trump Administration’s so-called deal of the century peace project.

“The move is part of the Palestinian development strategy for 2017-2020,” Abd al-Rahman, spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority’s Economy Ministry,  said. “We are currently studying which Israeli products the Palestinian market can dispense with.”

He said that currently, 85 percent of Palestinian exports go to Israel, while 60% of Palestinian imports come from Israel.

biffGood luck with that, then. There’s nothing like a bit of economic suicide to re-enforce a sense of victim-hood. I can see the trade in camel-dung taking off like a rocket.

 

My Mideast Punchlines: spooky….

Spies working for Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad are quietly being joined by a new generation of sleuths who bring with them unique analytical skills and insights developed from years of immersion in Judaism’s holy scriptures.

 

In partnership with the Mossad, a new nonprofit organization called Pardes is in the process of recruiting its first cohort of members from Israel’s ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, population and training them for work in the Mossad and possibly other Israeli intelligence agencies. The Mossad has already begun recruiting ultra-Orthodox Israelis elsewhere, after lengthy training programs.

biffThe lesson is clear. The Yeshiva is the greatest concentration of minds in the world. But if the super intellects developed there remain within its confines, Israel — and the world — will be much the poorer. With the ultra religious set (through higher birthrate) to become a dominant factor in Israeli demographics, I firmly believe that mobilising Haredi youth to contribute to society is perhaps the most formidable challenge Israel faces. If within two generations, half the population simply buries its head in Torah alone, the results for the Jewish State may well be catastrophic.

My Mideast Punchlines: peer pressure…

More than 60 Labour peers have put their names to an advert in the Guardian accusing Jeremy Corbyn of failing to tackle anti-Semitism.

The signatories, who make up about a third of Labour members in the Lords, said the leader was presiding over a “toxic culture” of anti-Semitism.

Many of the 67 signatories are long-standing critics of Mr Corbyn.

In the Guardian on Wednesday, the peers said Mr Corbyn had failed to accept responsibility for “allowing anti-Semitism to grow in our party”.

“The Labour Party welcomes everyone irrespective of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Except, it seems, Jews,” the advert said.

“This is your legacy Mr Corbyn,” it added.

biffThis advert is the only reason I might be tempted to buy the Guardian. Indeed, I’d be inclined to cut it out and frame it.  Should I run out of toilet paper, the rest of the anti-Israel left-wing rag would be used as a “back-stop”, so to speak.

My Mideast Punchlines: lock ‘im up…

When he comes to the US for a United Nations meeting, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will be confined to a six-block radius.

“We don’t need to let Iranians roam freely in New York City,” said US  Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook.

“US diplomats don’t roam around Tehran, so we don’t see any reason for Iranian diplomats to roam freely around New York City either,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

Image result for javad zarif

You can only really believe me when I say I’m lying

In the past Zarif has used his time in the US wisely, giving talks and making media appearances, grinning and having an enjoyable time while on American soil. He likes being in the US, and generally seems affable and happiest while touring New York or speaking to think tanks. He’s a minor celebrity in some spaces. So the Trump administration, which had considered sanctioning Zarif, has sought instead to keep in reined in around the UN corral.

biffNow, unless you’ve been living on the Moon, you will all know that Zarif is my personal bête noire. After all, a dog that appears to be smiling is still a dog. Lingering somewhere between a grin and a smirk. Jolly Javad has constantly sought to outwit the international community, especially the pusillanimous Europeans,  into accepting his lies about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Personally, I don’t think the Americans are going far enough. Six blocks? A six-foot square cell would be more like it.

My Mideast Punchlines: camel toe*

US President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday night on his comments assailing a group of Democratic congresswomen of color as foreign-born troublemakers, saying it was “sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion.”

Defending tweets earlier in the day in which he said that unnamed, “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” should go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump said in a new series on tweets that “Their disgusting language and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged.”

biffWhile only one of the anti-Semitic women in question (you should know who they are by now) is foreign-born, Trump was right about everything else. We must hope he gets re-elected next year, because if the Democrats get in they will surely take revenge on the easiest of targets – Israel. Meanwhile, both leading Democrats in the U.S. and the Labour party in the U.K. continue to toe the party line, seething in self-righteous fury about any intimation that they might be the ones who are racist and protofascist.

As my good wife is wont to say הגמל לא רואה את דבשתו (ha’gamal lo ro’eh et dabashto – the camel cannot see its own hump).

*if you don’t know what it means, look it up on Wikipedia. I didn’t invent the term, so please don’t call me a misogynist.

 

My Mideast Punchlines: man of straw..

In an interview with the Sunday Times, former Labour party foreign secretary Jack Straw waxes lyrical on subjects ranging from Trump to Iran. On Trump, he says the president’s belligerent approach to Iran is the opposite of Theodore Roosevelt’s counsel to speak softly and carry a big stick”. “In contrast, Trump speaks loudly and carries a small stick,” Straw chortles in the interview.

Straw, admits to being an averred Persophile, and he remains a passionate supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Of Iran’s threat to “wipe Israel off the map,” he says: “That’s crackers, it’s morally abject. Anyway, such statements are not in Iran’s interests. How do they advance the Iranian cause?”

The former Essex boy calls U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton “a warmonger”, although he reminded readers that he himself was labelled a war criminal at the time of the Iraq war. They used to call me a war criminal, he says. Now they’re begging me to come back.

biffJack Straw is one of the most incompetent politicians to have ever been a government minister. He allowed hundreds of thousands of Britain-hating Pakistanis (his former constituency of Blackburn is 50% Muslim) to flood into Britain in the vain hope that they would garner votes for Labour. However, I do believe that he is not a war criminal. An idiot, yes, but not a war criminal.

My Mideast Punchlines: Incy Wincy Spider….

Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah suggested to the Israeli leadership on Friday not to boast about returning Lebanon to the Stone Age in a Friday interview with Al-Manar.

“In the next war with Israel we will have surprises in land, air and sea,” he said, claiming that ‘the resistance’ can attack “the whole of Israel until [the southern city of] Eilat.”

Nasrallah presented a map of the country in which, he claimed, 1,000 targets are marked, Mako reported.  

He said that he is “confident of victory” and that “Israel is weaker than spider-web.”
biffWell, let’s take a closer look at a spider’s web. While not stronger than steel, spider silk might compare to steel when it comes to tensile strength, which is the largest stress that a material can withstand before breaking. It is stronger than Kevlar, so the bulletproof vest of the future won’t be made from super-strong plastics, but from spider silk. We should also remember that an arachnid’s web is a formidable trap for insects, including large cockroaches. And cockroaches don’t come any larger than the obese Hassan Nasrallah.